Doctor Who Day of the Daleks
Day of the Daleks more
than any other classic Doctor who episode I can think of deals with the
ramifications of time travel. In the year 2200C.E. a desperate Guerrilla
force wants the change the past of the human race. Having been beaten
down by hundreds of years of war those predictable humans have been
enslaved by the Daleks. The Guerrillas discover that the wars all track
back to one man a Sir Reginald Styles who was in charge of a peace
accord way back in....well...whenever the Pertwee years are set. They
steal Dalek time travel technology and try to kill Styles and that's
where the Doctor gets involved.
This story originally came out in 1972 and has
claimed “Classic” status but there were a few complaints. In the
original story there was suppose to be a pitch battle with UNIT and the
Daleks but the BBC would only spring for 3 Daleks, a deficiency that is
painfully obvious when you have wide shots of the battle and not helped
at all by deciding to paint one of them gold. Also the budget didn't
really stretch to making the year of 2200C.E. seem much more than an
abandoned railway line. But this has all changed. 2Entertain have
actually gone back to the original locations and filmed new footage with
more Daleks and more Daleks can be nothing but good.
This is both good and bad, the CG inserts of the
future Dalek inhabited Earth were a very cool idea and I love the idea
of having a Dalek symbol and “Obey” stenciled on everything. But in
practice the CG itself isn't that great and it clashes with some of the
other scenes set in the future. The new effects for the Vortex
Manipulators are good and a big step up from someone appearing in a puff
of smoke (although nicely, they left the smoke in) the really big and
noticeable difference is with the Guerrilla weapons. A LOT of people get
shot in this serial. It used to be that they just disappeared now we get
the full effect of the Sonic Disruptor (or Ray Gun as Jo calls it) in
all its glory. There is flash and then the victim explodes in a shower
of “bits” with a sickening wet raining sound. The first time it happened
I wasn't sure if it was hilarious or horrifying and my brain locked up.
On balance however the effects do make the story
better and more watchable although I'm not sure about the Dalek voices.
Professional Doctor Who fan and current voice of the Daleks Nick Briggs
has been brought in to make the Dalek voices more uniform, and whilst
this change isn't terrible and Nick does a really good job going back
and watching the original I don't mind the Daleks having different
voices; it's not like they sound as bad as the Cybermen in Earthshock
and no-one changed that.
Still this is the most complete attempt at making a
Who story more current and I think it can be commended although no doubt
there will be detractors who will rail; “Leave it alone”, “don't change
the originals” and such but the good thing about 2Entertain is that
unlike George Lucas if they change something they either give you the
option to watch the original or as in this case provide the entire
original version on the other DVD.
Happily you get an unaltered version of Day of the
Daleks so purists can buy the set safe in the knowledge that they
never have to watch people explode in showers of viscera.
You also get a Barry Letts
and Terrance Dicks commentary, along with cast members Anna Barry and
Jimmy Winton, as well as vision mixer Mike Catherwood. It runs over the
original version which is all fine and good but adds little really.
Blasting the Past
is a making of retrospective that is fairly no-holds-barred in the fact
that the key players are fairly upfront about the limitations of this
particular episode. Clips from Nationwide and Blue Peter
(where Blue Peter host Peter Purves *Steven* reminisces about his time
as the First Doctors companion which is great, but why is it on this
disc?) are also included
Disc Two has the reconstructed episode a making of
piece for the special edition which includes lots of behind the scenes
stuff. Then there’s The Cheating Memory which is named after a
famous phrase of John Nathan Turner whenever asked why early episodes
were so good and his episodes were so crap he said “The Memory Cheats”.
Much as I didn’t like John Nathan Turners’ tenure he had a point the
huge sweeping Dalek army’s trampling (ok, well gliding) across England’s
green and pleasant land in my memory has been somewhat let down by three
Dalek and an Ogron slowly trundling past a hedge. Hence the reasoning
for the special edition.
There is also part two of The Unit Family part
one was released way back in 2006 on Inferno so you’ve been waiting for
this one for a while and a good documentary on the Unit Dating
Controversy one of my favorite subjects finally gets its own
Audio: Audio is Stereo and fairly good.
Video: Video is better on the Special edition apart
from the unconvincing CG.